National Sports Day Feature: India Win 1936 Olympic Hockey Gold in Berlin

Times of India report from 17 August, 1936, image credit @chinmaytumbe

ndia's National Sports Day is observed on 29th August every year, to commemorate the birth anniversary of Major Dhyan Chand. To mark this occasion, a Times of India report from 17 August, 1936 is posted below.

The news report was sent by special cable from Berlin, and was headlined "India Retain World Hockey Title". It took two days from when the report was filed (15 August) and when it got printed (17 August). Despite being the third successive Olympic hockey gold medal for India, this report was not featured on the front page. Dhyan Chand's photo accompanied the despatch, which is partially posted below.

Germany beaten easily

India retained the Olympic hockey title by defeating Germany in the final, at Berlin, by eight goals to one. Dhyan Chand scored six of the goals.

BERLIN, August 15

The final of the hockey tournament, between India and Germany, was to have been played yesterday, but rained caused its postponement. There were twenty thousand spectators in the stadium when the match commenced today, and hundreds had to be turned away owing to lack of seating accommmodation. The ground was still damp, but this did not prevent a fast pace being set and maintained up to the end.

Dhyan Chand netted early for India, but he was declared to have been off-side. The Germans undercut and lifted the ball cleverly, but their opponents countered with brilliant stick work and amazing long hits. Twice Dara attempted to score, but was declared offside.

Five minutes before the interval, however, Dhyan Chand obtained possession from a throw-in in the German twenty-five, and opened India's account.

National Sports Day Feature: Hockey Wizard Dhyan Chand Passes Away

Hindustan Times report from 4 December, 1979

ndia's National Sports Day is observed on 29th August every year, to commemorate the birth anniversary of Major Dhyan Chand. To mark this occasion, a report from the front page of The Hindustan Times from 4 December, 1979 is posted below.

Dhyan Chand Dead

Hindustan Times Correspondent

Hockey wizard Dhyan Chand, who mesmerized the world with his brilliant stick work for more than three decades, passed away at 4:23 a.m. at the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences here today (December 3). Dhyan Chand was 74. He is survived by his wife, seven sons and four daughters.

Dhyan Chand had been ailing for some time in Jhansi before he was brought to Delhi on Nov 23 and admitted to AIIMS. He had several complications like cancer of the lever, diabetes and kidney trouble. Eventually he succumbed to the first ailment.

Dhyan Chand developed respiration failure last evening and by about 00-30 a.m. the doctors slated intensive resuscitation. He collapsed before 4:25 a.m.

Hundreds of friends, relatives, hockey officials and others thronged the hospital on hearing the news. The body is being flown to his home town Jhansi in the afternoon and according to his son, Ashok Kumar, will be cremated there tomorrow morning.

Born at Allahabad on Aug. 28 1905 Dhayan Chand achieved immortal fame with his artistry and skill in hockey. Popularly known as "dada" to friends and admirers, he represented India in three successive Olympics-1928 at Los Angeles, 1932 at Amsterdam and led the victorious India team in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

A story goes about the Berlin Olympics that Dhayn Chand was invited for a cup of tea by Adolf Hitler after India had routed Germany in the final.

Dhyan Chand was at that time an ordinary sepoy in the Indian army when Hitler came to know about his rank he was reported to have offered him the title of Field Marshal if he would migrate to Germany.

Another story is that most of the Europeans did not believe the way Dhyan Chand used to sprint down with the ball glued to his stick. In fact, some people are reported to have examined his stick to find out whether something like a magnet was attached to his stick. They were left bewildered when they found nothing.

Dhyan Chand rose to the rank of a Major and retained it till his retirement In 1986. He was the recepient of Padma Bhushan in 1956 and then joined the Rajkumari Amrit Kaur coaching scheme in 1961 as the chief hockey coach.

PTI adds: From Amsterdam Olympics in 1928 to those at Los Angeles 1932, and Berlin 1936, Dhyan Chand enthralled the world of hockey. A "wizard", a "juggler" he was hailed by connoisseur and critic alike.

India was an enslaved nation in 1936, but on freedom. Dhyan Chand was not considered worthier than to be a major, to which rank he was elevated. But more honoured he was in 1956 on conferment of Padma Bhushan by President Rajendra Prasad.

World War II blitzed two Olympics, one to have been held In Tokyo in 1940 and another in 1944. It also ended the career of Dhyan Chand who last played international hockey in 1948 leading an Indian team to East Africa. On return he hung up his stick for good.

Yet in the shortened span of his career in the international arena, Dhyan Chand scored around 400 goals, a record that has not been equalled in the last 25 years in the course of which eight Olympics were held, nor will it perhaps ever be equalled, let alone surpassed.

As a hockey player he was incomparable even among his illustrious contemporaries, Jaipal Singh, A. I. S. Dara and his own brother, Roop Singh, with whom he made a perfect combination, the former as centre-forward and the latter as inside-left.

Hockey in the first quarter of the century was a pastime of the British military officers and confined to cantonments. Dhyan Chand took it to the cities of India to give birth to Indian hockey. The Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) was born in 1925.

Born in 1906, in Allahabad, Dhyan Chand joined the Indian Army as a sepoy, spending most of his time in Jhansi. It was here that he perfected his game which he began playing at the age of 17.

In 1926, Dhyan Chand was a member of the Indian Army team which toured Australia and New Zealand. The team won all its matches to put India on the world hockey map. That was Dhyan Chand's preparation for the first Olympics, in which India could only participate under British flag, on the withdrawal of the British national team.

After Amsterdam came the Los Angeles Olympics which too India won, defeating the United States by 24 coals of which eight came from the stick of Dhyan Chand. En route matches were played in Japan and on landing in California.

For the Berlin Olympics, Dhyan Chand led India. He was at the zenith of his career, that war practically ended.

On his retirement in 1948, Dhyan Chand devoted himself to coaching and took a hand in shaping the 1948 and 1952 Olympic teams under Kishan Lal and Digvijay Singh "Babu".

If Dhyan Chand helped in the birth of Indian hockey, he had also the misfortune of seeing its decline and fall at Rome in 1960.

Indian hockey is dead, so is Dhyan Chand.

India Moving Away From Single-Sport Cricketing Nation to Multi-Sport Nation

Students at a state-level Archery summer camp in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh in 2018
Excerpted from article by P. K. Ajith Kumar, Photo by K. R. Deepak, courtesy The Hindu

t used to be the case that Indian sports fans had to be content cheering for Manchester United, weeping over Argentina's World Cup failure, gushing over Roger Federer's artistry, or marvelling at Usain Bolt's speed.

But now, India's sporting culture is no longer just about following cricket and foreign sports. There has been a huge leap in India in multiple games like chess, motorsport, swimming, squash, golf, and others, as was seen in India's Commonwealth Games contingent.

Parents are investing in their children's sporting futures, and the young athletes are starting early and entering global platforms. Much of this is to do with our homegrown sporting stars.

In 2021, the country of one billion watched on live television Neeraj Chopra win the first ever athletics gold at the Tokyo Olympics. The Olympics also turned out to be India's best ever, with seven medals.

In May 2022 in Bangkok, India lifted its first-ever Thomas Cup - the world team championship for badminton. At the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games last month, India won 61 medals, 22 of which were gold, and it finished fourth in the medal tally.

That was followed by India's fine showing at the Chennai Chess Olympiad, where the host won the bronze medal in both the open and women's sections, besides another seven individual medals.

Olympic medallists like P.V. Sindhu have a brand value comparable to Indian cricketers, and this is an important trend, according to former Olympic swimmer Nisha Millet. "Sindhu and weightlifter Mirabai Chanu are role models for girls who want to do different sports," she says.

Private participation has increased in Indian sports, with companies such as Reliance, Kotak Mahindra, Tata Steel and JSW contributing to India's improved sporting profile. For instance, Reliance Foundation (RF) has been supporting athletes in different sports, from the grassroots to the elite level. "During the past one year, RF-supported athletes bagged 12 international medals and 29 national medals, spanning athletics, archery, badminton and weightlifting," says a spokesperson from the foundation.

The Odisha government's attitude towards sport has been commendable. Odisha has emerged in little time as a sports hub, and is the sponsor of India's men's and women's national hockey teams. Its joint venture with RF, the Reliance Foundation Odisha High Performance Centre, is already showing results in athletics, under the English coach James Hillier.

And the way the Tamil Nadu government hosted the Chess Olympiad at a notice of just four months received much-deserved praise.

The Centre has also increased its budgetary allocation to sports considerably, although more could be done. It is perhaps too early to determine the impact of the Khelo India project, for which ₹974 crore was earmarked in the last budget. But the tendency by the various State governments to shower champion athletes with cash awards, running into crores of rupees, still continues.

It may take time for Indian sports to get there, but the signs are positive - with an increased interest in sports from young athletes, better support and facilities, and parents who are willing to go the extra mile.

FIH President Candidate Marc Caudron Has Credentials And Track Record

Marc Caudron - Candidate for FIH President in elections to be held on 5 November. Content credit

arc Coudron is a candidate in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Presidential elections on 5 November, seeking to complete the term of Narinder Batra who stepped down from the post for "personal reasons".

Incumbent Batra had beaten Coudron in a delayed Presidential election in May 2021. Batra had secured his second term as President by just one vote more than a tie (63 to 61), the smallest winning margin possible.

Coudron has an impressive track record - he has served for 16 years as the Presidenct of the Belgian Hockey Federation (KBHB). Under his presidency, Belgium won the Men's World Cup for the first time in Bhubanesvar in 2018. The following year, Belgium won the Men's EuroHockey Championship for the first time in Antwerp in 2019. Belgium's crowning achievement was winning the Men's Olympic Hockey gold medal for the first time in Tokyo in 2021.

Caudron's term as KBHB president saw a big growth in the number of active hockey players in Belgium. Coudron said. "We had 16,000 members in 2005 and we are now nearly 60,000."

Beyond his long reign as KBHB President, Caudron was a member on the FIH Executive Board from 2010 to 2018, and a member of the European Hockey Federation Competitions Committee from 2006 to 2014.

Coudron is a former international player, and has made more than 300 appearances for Belgium.

Speaking to insidethegames, Caudron suggested that while in the first tier of hockey nations, the sport is "popular and hence easy to manage", it is the second and third-tier countries that need the support to produce better coaches, players, infrastructure and fields.

Coudron criticised the thousands of litres of water consumed by water-based hockey pitches before the game and at half-time. Coudron said, "We have to put pressure on the manufacturers to build new sport pitches without water," he said. "Not now, but within a few years, it will be a scandal to water artificial pitches like we are doing now.

Sporting development, improving FIH finances, and becoming a leader in governance, transparency, inclusion and integrity - are key parts of Coudron's campaign.

Caudron offers a unqiue take on leadership. "Not to be surrounded by yes-men and yes-women, but to be surrounded by challengers and people who are there to say 'Marc, I don't agree with you'," he commented. "We talk together and find better solutions."

Egypt's Seif Ahmed is currently serving as FIH Acting President, but will not campaign for the permanent position. Pakistan-born official Tayyab Ikram is his sole opponent for the FIH Presidency.

Photograph of the Month

Mamta Kharab scores the golden goal and India win the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games hockey gold
Excerpted from article by Uthra Ganesan, courtesy Sportstar. Photograph credit AFP

he Photograph of the Month for September 2022 captures the golden goal scored by Mamta Kharab that won India the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games women's hockey gold. This bunch of young women gave India's its first and, so far, only Commonwealth Games men's or women's hockey gold.

"The Manchester gold was the biggest victory of our career, we can never ever forget that. It changed our lives," says Mamta Kharab, then 20, the baby of the team who became an overnight star. She is the inspiration for the Chak de! India movie character of Komal Chautala.

The final against England saw peak controversy. Under pressure against a relentless, superior host in front of a highly vocal, capacity crowd, the Indians held the upper hand much against the run of play with a 2-0 lead before England fought back to level the score.

The tied score held till the last minute and the match looked to be heading to penalties, before India earned a penalty corner in the last 40 seconds. Mamta slotted in a deflection even as the hooter went. The Indians celebrated, the English protested and both waited for more than an hour for the final result.

Says Pritam Rani Sivach, one of the seniors of the side then, "I have not seen teams as good as the English and Australian teams then. They were simply too good, too fast. Our first target was to defend well and not concede too many goals, so that people won't say we reached the final by fluke. England got at least 15 penalty corners, but our goalkeepers, Helen Mary and Tingonleima Chanu, were good, as was our rusher, Manjinder Kaur. And then came the golden goal."

Mamta remembers the match-winning goal. "I used to be the pusher for penalty corners, and fullback Suman Bala was the hitter. For this corner, the ball just rolled past the goalkeeper and I think I was lucky to spot it and tap in quickly. But the hooter had gone and so it was not clear what the score actually was."

Pritam has an idea of what happened. Or, what she believes happened, since there is no single definitive version of the incident. "There was a hooter that went from the technical bench on the sidelines to mark the end of time. But the penalty corner had been started and it had to be completed before play was called off. Also, the on-field umpires had not blown the whistle yet. The English girls reacted to the hooter, while we focused on the umpire. It took almost an hour for the technical officials to decide in our favour," she explains.

That 2002 win inspired an entire generation of girls, including Rani Rampal, to dream. "Players like me thought of playing hockey because of that gold," says Rani. The win also became part of the folklore through the movie Chak de! India, and the players remain the Golden Girls of Indian hockey.

Money Matters

Article by Sahaj Nair, courtesy KhelNow

he Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports launched the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) in September 2014 in an attempt to provide assistance to India's top athletes. These are athletes who have been identified as potential medal winners for India at the Olympics, Paralympics or other world events like the Commonwealth Games.

TOPS comprises a Core Group and a Development Group. At present, the TOPS core group comprises 105 athletes across 13 sporting disciplines. The core group includes both the men's and women's hockey teams.

In addition, the TOPS development group comprises 269 athletes across 12 sports disciplines. Support provided to athletes in TOPS includes foreign training, international competition, equipment and coaching camps, beside a monthly stipend of ₹50,000 for each athlete.

The scheme was first introduced in 2014, and enlarged in scope in April 2018 by setting up a technical support team for providing holistic support.

The TOPS program has seen successes in the form of P. V. Sindhu (badminton) and Sakshi Malik (wrestling), who won silver and bronze medals respectively at the 2016 Rio Olympics. TOPS athletes also won four medals, including two gold medals at the 2016 Paralympic Games.

At the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, 47 out of the 70 medal-winning Indian athletes were supported by the TOPS.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics saw India have its best ever performance with seven medals in total, which included the historic gold medal by TOPS athlete Neeraj Chopra.

The scheme has come to the help of the athletes many times. For instance, TOPS stepped in when Mirabai Chanu needed to travel to St. Louis in the United States at short notice before the Olympic Games in 2020. It was managed inside a day, so that she could leave before the U.S. stopped flights originating from India. Mirabai won a silver at the Tokyo Olympics.

Another example is Neeraj Chopra being flown to Chula Vista, so that he could return to training and prepare for the 2022 World Athletics Championships.

Media Matters

he book "Thapki" written by the family of late Bale Tiwari, the mentor of hockey wizard Dhyan Chand, was inaugurated in the Press Club of India on 4 September. Olympians Vineet Kuma and Ashok Divan, and international hockey player Arvind Chhabra.graced the occasion. The book has been published by the Bale Tiwari Foundation.

Dhyan Singh joined the Army in 1922 at the age of 16 as a Sepoy in Delhi's First Battalion of the Brahmin Regiment. Dhyan Singh had never played hockey before joining the Army. Subedar-Major Bale Tiwari served as his mentor and coach, and was instrumental in making Dhyan Singh into Dhyan Chand.

In his autobiography "Goal!", Dhyan Chand writes about Bale Tiwari, whom he refers to as his guru.

"When I joined the First Brahmin Regiment, we had a Subedar-Major by the name of Bale Tiwari who was a keen hockey enthusiast and a very fine player. He took a fancy to me. My regiment was well-known in hockey circles, and hockey was the only outdoor game to which the regiment devoted most of its sporting attention to.

Bale Tiwari initiated me into this game and gave me my first lessons. He was my guru. I took a fancy to dribbling from the very start of my hockey career. Bale Tiwari frowned on this tendency, and would never allow me to dribble too long or hang on to the ball. He drove home the lesson that hockey was a team game, and I must pass the ball at the correct time."

Olympian Ashok Kumar was felecitated at the book launch event. One hundred years after Sepoy Dhyan Singh first met Subedar-Major Bale Tiwari in 1922, the two families remain in touch and continue the relationship.

Records and Statistics

he September edition of records and statistics is on Australia's absolute dominance in the Commonwealth Games men's hockey competition.

  • 7 Commonwealth Games men's hockey tournaments, 7 golds for Australia. That is a 24-year-reign as Commonwealth men's hockey champions
  • 4 different countries tried to dethrone Australia in the final and they all failed - Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan and India
  • In 6 of the 7 finals, the losing finalist could not score a single goal against Australia
  • The three biggest losing margins in the men's final all happened against India: 0-8, 0-7 and 0-4. Australia scored 19 goals to 0 by India in these 3 finals
Year Venue Gold Silver Score
1998 Kuala Lumpur (MAS) Australia Malaysia 4 - 0
2002 Manchester (ENG) Australia New Zealand 5 - 2
2006 Melbourne (AUS) Australia Pakistan 3 - 0
2010 Delhi (IND) Australia India 8 - 0
2014 Glasgow (SCO) Australia India 4 - 0
2018 Gold Coast (AUS) Australia New Zealand 2 - 0
2022 Birmingham (ENG) Australia India 7 - 0